Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Dodder, the popular name of the genus Cuscuta, some fifty species related to the Convolvulaoeae, all of them natives of temperate regions, and annual, leafless, twining parasites. Their seed is albuminous, and the embryo spiral and thread-like, with hardly a trace of cotyledons. It germinates in the ground, and on coming in contact with the stem of a herbaceous plant sends out sucker-like branches or haustoria, penetrating the cortical and bast-tissues of the host, while it coils round it like a tendril. It then loses all connection with the ground and grows rapidly into a tangle of red thread-like stems, containing hardly any chlorophyll, but bearing numerous clusters of small 4 to 5-merous flowers, succeeded by two-chambered capsular fruits containing four minute seeds. Several species are destructive to flax and clover crops, their seeds being sown with those of the crop.